• It had certain provisions that would unnecessarily burden federal oil and gas and federal and Indian coal beyond
the degree needed to protect the public interest or otherwise
comply with the law.
• Zinke announced on Mar. 29 that he was reestablishing the Royalty Policy Committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to advise ONRR on current and emerging
issues related to the determination of fair market value and
the collection of royalties from energy and mineral resources
on federal and Indian lands.
ONRR stayed the Valuation Rule on Feb. 27 and published a proposed rulemaking notice to repeal the rule on
It said that three different sets of petitioners filed three
separate petitions challenging the 2017 Valuation Rule in US
District Court for Wyoming on Dec. 29, 2016.
“The petitioners alleged that the rule created widespread
uncertainty about reporting and payment of royalties and, in
some respects, was unreasonably difficult to comply with,”
ONRR said. “[Their] arguments echoed the questions and
concerns that had been raised at the reporter training ses-
sions and in various guidance requests.”
By late January, ONRR said, it had recognized that imple-
menting the rule would be contrary to its stated purposes.
ONRR then decided to repeal the rule because:
• It had several defects that made certain provisions
challenging to comply with, implement, or enforce.
White House sends McIntyre, Glick’s FERC nominations to US Senate
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission moved one
step closer to regaining its quorum as the White House sent
its nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin J. McIntyre to be
FERC members to the US Senate for approval on Aug. 2.
McIntyre, who also ultimately would become FERC’s
chairman, would serve both the remainder of a term expiring
June 30, 2018, from which Norman Bay resigned in February, and a full term expiring June 30, 2023, the White House
noted. Glick’s term would expire June 30, 2022, it said.
An American Petroleum Institute official urged the Senate to approve the nominations promptly. “FERC has gone
without a quorum for far too long, stalling nearly $4 billion
of investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure,” said API
Midstream and Industry Operations Group Director Robin
“Approval of these well-qualified nominees by the Senate
will ensure that the agency can return to its mission of evaluating and approving needed energy infrastructure projects
around the country,” he maintained.
The White House’s latest action means that it has of-
ficially sent four FERC nominations—those of Neil Chatterjee
and Robert Powelson, as well as Glick and McIntyre’s—to
the Senate for confirmation, LNG Allies Executive Direc-
tor Fred H. Hutchison said in an Aug. 2 thank-you letter to
President Donald J. Trump.
“This matter is important to US LNG export project sponsors because the absence of a FERC quorum has created an
agency backlog that—if left unaddressed—could negatively
[affect] the timeline for a dozen pending LNG export project
applications,” he told the president.
“All of these projects are at or near the formal FERC
review stage and thus could be ripe for decisions in a 12-15
month time period beginning in the first quarter of 2018,”
He said that while FERC is an independent federal
agency, he hopes the Trump administration finds other ways
to help it accelerate its LNG approval process, including directing other federal agencies to be more cooperative during
FERC’s environmental reviews.
“This is one area where the ‘ship really does hit the water’
with respect to LNG permitting and the ‘cooperating’ federal
departments and agencies can surely ‘lend an oar’ to the
effort,” Hutchison maintained.
FERC quorum restored as Senate okays
Powelson, Chatterjee nominations
The US Senate effectively restored the Federal Energy Regu-
latory Commission’s quorum on Aug. 3 as it approved the
nominations of Rob Powelson and Neil Chatterjee to be
commissioners by unanimous consent. Oil and gas trade as-
sociations and other business groups immediately applaud-
ed the action that made FERC fully operational again after